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Counting others short on blessings

Most of us have had a few days in our lives when the world seemed about to end and there wasn't a single positive factor to be counted.

And, for some, all of that depressing negativism is justified.

But I, with very few exceptions, am always able to find people whose days are going a lot worse than mine, and who would be very happy to trade problems with me if they had the opportunity.

Obviously, people in horrendous life-threatening situations, or who have committed horrible crimes or caused fatal accidents, fall into that category, but there are also some people in less grim circumstances who are still worse off than I am.

Take Carl Mossack, a 69-year-old former corporate executive who agreed last week to plead guilty to charges stemming from the fact that he lost more than $30-million betting on sporting events in a single year, sometimes wagering as much as $1-million a day, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

Mossack, who will serve two years in prison as a result of his plea, has "gone through a very difficult time as a result of his gambling addiction," his attorney said.

Or, there was the TWA pilot last week who landed his MD-80 jetliner and 116 passengers on a crop-dusting strip 20 miles away from the regional airport near Steamboat Springs, Colo., where he was supposed to have landed.

Boy, is he going to get yelled at.

And, whatever problems I might have, I am not the mayor of Miami.

That statement could stand alone, but it is especially a good thing not to be Joe Carollo this month because he is charged with misdemeanor simple battery for having thrown a cardboard tea canister at his wife and raised a lump on her head.

Mrs. Carollo says now that police took pictures of her alleged injuries without her permission.

Or, I could be worse off than I am by working for the Chatham County, N.C., Sheriff's Office, where they seem to have, ahem, misplaced 5,000 pounds of marijuana.

Talk about losing your stash!

Again, I credit the Raleigh News & Observer for making my day better. Seems the marijuana was seized in an undercover sting last year and that 3,000 pounds of it stored in an Army truck parked behind the Sheriff's Office (for security, obviously) was stolen.

So it would seem that the right greeting around Chatham County these days is, "Hi," and the correct response would be, "Certainly am."

Organizers of the California Prune festival, tired of that fruit's image, are now calling it the Dried Plum festival. Makes me wonder if maybe we couldn't improve Florida's image by calling sinkholes instant ponds.

A Marshall, N.C., (North Carolina seems to be the center of weirdness this month) woman has been banned from dancing at the Marshall Depot (which is leased by the town) for what the mayor calls "inappropriate" dancing, without really defining what that is.

Sounds like they could take a page out of Pasco County's book in that category.

And, finally, in the "and-you-think-you-are-having-a-bad-day" category:

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that dime-sized dollops of dung rained from the sky over Sevier County, Utah, last week, spattering a home, back yard and a (thankfully covered) hot-tub.

And it isn't the first time.

Similarly, gooey globs hit homes in Salt Lake County in 1999, the paper says. Some thought it might have been from aircraft dumping waste in flight, but there wasn't any of the blue fluid used in aircraft toilets and the FAA says airliners (we should all be grateful for small favors) don't have the ability to void their tanks in flight.

I'll take a problem with blowing leaves in my yard any time.

And so, on those days when I wake up wondering why I have been dreaming about crop circles in AstroTurf and find the world looking like Oz with Toto as the brains of the operation and the Munchkins in charge, I can almost always find someone who would rather be me.

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